Asia-Pacific telcos fight back

Incumbent operators often outperform the market as a whole

In 2007, many developed market Asia/Pacific fixed voice, mobile, and broadband operator incumbents out-performed their market in certain areas, according to Ovum Research. Market share losses have been reversed as incumbents come to grips with competition and learn to leverage differentiators.

Incumbent strategies are increasingly defined by leveraging services, content, sales, and customer relationships across all platforms and technologies. Although still an ongoing process, most operators have moved away from technology-defined business units (mobile, fixed, broadband) to customer-focused segments (consumer, enterprise), independent of access technology.

"Aiding incumbents was the continued growth in core mobile and broadband products. After falling in 2006, impressively average growth in both broadband revenues and mobile connections and revenues increased in 2007. There is no slow-down. This is despite a common expectation to the contrary, as markets mature and penetration increases", said Nathan Burley, an Ovum analyst.

In mobile, multiple connections and wireless broadband are significant drivers. Mobile data provides further potential for operators with growth increasingly coming in multimedia services, content, data, and wireless broadband. Data revenues have been aided by improvements in devices, pricing, services, user awareness, and 3G migration, which is gathering pace across the region. "3G is dominating net additions in developed markets, while 2G connections are now declining", added Burley.

Broadband and data revenues growth in 2007 more than compensated for the fall in public switched telephone network (PSTN) revenues. In previous years average broadband and data revenue growth has not filled the gap created by fixed voice revenue decline. Although broadband revenue growth increased and plug-fixed voice declined, broadband upgrades are not having as significant impact as operators hoped. "Traffic and speed requirements are growing and users are upgrading to faster speeds (ADSL 2+, VDSL, and FTTx), yet often without paying more -- ARPU is relatively flat", said Burley.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report

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